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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Grameenphone: Success, Failure and Jealousy


Just 10 years ago. None heard the word Grameenphone or GP in Bangladesh or on earth. Now the word GP is almost familiar like the name Bangladesh. An illiterate woman at the remotest corner of Bangladesh instantly understands if someone spells out ‘Grameenphone’ before her. Urban people are much more ahead. They need only the acronym, GP. No company in any industry in Bangladesh achieved such familiarity even after working for long 100 years. Because GP sits between husband and wife, mother and child, father and daughter, friends, colleagues, fiancés, suppliers etc. Even GP follows us in restrooms, mosques, bedrooms, libraries, trains wherever we are. The company’s greatest achievement lies in changing the culture, behavior, lifestyle of society of Bangladesh positively mostly. I am neither an economist nor a respective bureaucrat at the finance ministry. But I am dauntless to speak as a citizen that GP also significantly changeed Bangladesh’s economy and employment market into an extreme extent that no private limited company can even imagine of.

5200 people (at least having bachelor degree or above) directly work in GP, another 5000 (appx) also works for GP recruited by third party, in forward chain nearly 200,000 people engaged in sales and distribution, almost 1,000,000 retail store (usually sells other goods) boost their income by selling refill, in backward chain Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens and their suppliers, civil workers, tower builder, advertising agency, television, newspaper, outdoor advertiser, printers, electrical suppliers, power, generator and fuel supplier and many more small, big, very big, global giants are working for GP to keep the network on. The company is paying highest Tax and VAT in public fund (more than tk.2500 crore in last FY). GP already developed more than 2500 km of fiber optic in addition to BRs leased one and more than 10000 BTS, are the major infrastructural progress of country. The monstrous company became almost parallel of Bangladesh economy and beat all reputed multinational in terms of their revenue and glace, breaks equilibrium of job market and marks many milestone. What Microsoft has given to the world, GP, in Bangladesh, have done almost alike.


GP have not been in parallel with quite a few rules and regulations mandated by the BTRC, specially in the issue of illegal activities in VoIP business. Some of its high-achievers who, once, made the company feel proud, are now being accused of being involved in the VoIP case.


I heard the murmuring of many people, in worse some from educated people, that GP is looting the country. All forex are siphoned off. It becomes a new east India company etc. There should be a remedial to check it on. It should be in public.

Sometime we have ridiculous thinking on FDI. Thinks it charity instead! GP was no problem while it spending millions to build network. Now it is problem as it is earning good! We like the nipple of cow not her mouth, or other company in same or other industries became jealousy on GP. Like none wants to allow their daughter to marry the poor boys but looking for many cracks, defects, allegations on his recently wed beautiful wife! People should understand that, falling GP immediately will collapse Bangladesh, millions of families and their earnings, at most disruption of communication. The rich white Telenor has 11 other ventures across the world, and their highly paid white manager have many options, but our brilliant EEE engineers will again rush for TOEFL and GRE followed by crawling to the US embassy. I find no suitable word for else’s woe. Grameenphone is a company of Bangladesh. We are Bangladeshi. We are proud of it, not green-eyed to it. Best of luck Grameenphone.

Azad A. Kalam emailed to


Saiful Islam said...

Some comments:

1. Worth reading...
2. Partially agreed with view toward people who blame GP for looting...
3. Not agreed with the idea of FDI and Bangladeshi GP.
4. Believe that all MNC are nothing but East India Company in the long run.

Anonymous said...

The failure section of the article should also include the job insecurity of people employed there, high price of its products (Past & present), Very low CSR activities compared to its stature and revenue.